Snitterfield WI was delighted to welcome Dr Nic Fulcher when he came to talk about New Place this month. It has gone through many owners and transformations since being built by Hugh Clopton in 1483. Firstly, the ‘Grate House’ was willed to his grand-nephew in 1496. He sold it in 1563 to William Bott then, in 1567, William Underhill bought it, leaving it to his son in 1570. William Shakespeare bought it in 1597, keeping it until 1616. Susanna Hall then received it and passed it to her grand-daughter, Elizabeth, on whose death in 1670 it came to Sir John Clopton, who demolished it in 1702 and built on the site.

In 1759 there was another demolition. This is our New Place. Thankfully, Nash’s House and the site were given to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in 1876. In 1912, Nash’s House was renovated with a modern form of wattle and daub to prevent it collapsing.

An oak-framed extension was built and New Place was left open. There is now a modern knot garden whilst the Great Garden is intact. The house was built around a courtyard, foundations probably under Chapel Lane. Now, low walls are conserved beneath earth; a rule for excavations.

The garden, with its bronze tree and the globe of the world known to Shakespeare, form part of a spectacular centrepiece and furniture of the period, also bronze, invites us to sit and imagine what this house would have been.

In other business, Sylvia advised us of the difficulties experienced by our shop and the Snitterfield Arms whilst the flood alleviation work is progressing. Our Secretary, Carol, tempted us with news of skittles, entertainment for Poppy Day and craft fairs. As always, there are many activities for everyone before Christmastide.